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Coyotes: No debt trouble

By wire services
Published January 14, 2005

PHOENIX - The Coyotes have not exhausted an NHL-approved credit line and are not on shaky financial footing, team chairman Steve Ellman said Thursday.

Ellman disputed a Globe and Mail story that suggested there was little equity left in the club for him and co-owner Jerry Moyes. The Toronto newspaper claimed the Coyotes had borrowed $60-million and cited an NHL source to support the statement that the amount was a high debt load for a hockey club.

"We've not utilized the full amount," Ellman said. "The NHL specifies the level of debt that each franchise is entitled to borrow on their team. They approved $60-million, so we have the capability to borrow $60-million, but we have not. So we have excess borrowing capacity available."

Ellman also said the Coyotes' debt burden should be viewed as part of Coyote Holdings' consolidated debt. He declined to give that figure but said it was low in relationship to the assets of the holding company.

Coyote is the holding company for the pro hockey and lacrosse teams based at the new Glendale Arena, as well as concerts, boxing matches and other special events held there, and the Westgate city center commercial development adjacent to the building.

PENGUINS: The team is trying to land a gambling license so they've hired an adviser from the Gore and Kerry presidential campaigns to help. David Morehouse, a 44-year-old native of Pittsburgh, will serve as the team's senior consultant for special projects. The team will bid for the slot machines parlor guaranteed Pittsburgh when the state Legislature legalized slot machines last year.

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